Transcript of #16

 

Abnormally Funny People 16 November

 

Presented by Simon Minty and Steve Best

 

 

intro

Welcome to the Abnormally Funny People Show, with your hosts, Simon Minty and Steve Best. This podcast is sponsored by Barclays. For more information please see our website, abnormallyfunnypeople.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

[playing music]

simon

Hello, and welcome to the Abnormally Funny People show, number 16. I’m Simon Minty.

steve

Hello, and I’m Steve Best. Today’s a master class in podcasting.

simon

Our guests are mighty in this world of podcasting, they are the original producers of the BBC Ouch talk show.

steve

For over ten years they’ve created a monthly show with thousands of faithful followers. Hello to you, Damon Rose.

damon

Hello.

simon

And to Emma Tracey.

emma

Hello.

steve

We will speak with Damon and Emma in a moment, but before we do that there’s an update on our sponsorship.

simon

Oh yeah, yeah. That’s it, well you know what, we’re still stretching around a bit, we’ve got a couple of companies or organisations who are interested. I had a really nice email, a guy, Charlie, from Independent Lives, he had an idea, he said if we go down the crowdfunding route we should go to DPULOs and maybe they could all chip in towards it.

steve

DPU…? It sounds like UFOs.

simon

That’s it. No, no, no, this is token non-disabled, Steve Best. Disabled Persons User Led Organisations.

steve

Say that again, that was a bit bad.

simon

Mumbled.

steve

Yes! Disabled Persons User…?

simon

It’s organisations led by disabled people, other than well-meaning non-disabled people, that’s the theory.

steve

Okay, I get you. That’s nice. Well thanks for that, Charlie, so if you’re interested in helping contact us via Facebook or our website, abnormallyfunnypeople.com.

simon

And as well as our two guests we have our moment of the month and we will check in with all things about tech and accessibility with Robin from AbilityNet.

steve

And of course check how things are going in LA with Shannon Murray. So let’s crack on.

 

[Jingle: Have a question or a comment? You can also text us or leave a voicemail on 07756190561]

simon

Let’s kick off with Moment of the Month. Emma, your moment of the month?

emma

Right, well I just had a baby six months ago, probably all I ever talk about, but anyway.

simon

Yay!

emma

And I also have moved to a new house in a new area and I use a guide dog, and the moment came after a lot of time staying in various different places while the house is getting ready and stuff so not really getting out on my own very much, but the moment arrived where I needed to become independent again, but with a child in tow. So I decided about two weeks after moving into my new house, the guide dog people are coming tomorrow to teach me how to walk pulling the buggy and do a few routes but I thought I’ll just get a bit of practice in before they arrive. So this took about 45 minutes to get out of the house, as it does with children, got out of the house, absolutely delighted with myself, walked five or ten minutes down the road, managed to do the kerbs, Verona my guide dog worked like a dream, the baby was asleep, I was like I am a genius, this is amazing. So we turned back, I thought I’m not going to overdo this, I’m going to turn back after five minutes, I’m going to go home and just be very pleased with myself and have a cup of tea.

So we did the same distance back again by my calculations and Verona was very keen to go down a side street and our house is on a corner and the back door’s the side door which you can get to from the street, so I thought okay well she’s probably just bringing me to that other door so we’ll do it, why not, I trust her, she’s great, we’ve been together for six years, she’s fantastic. And I think she did bring me down the right street, but I think I lost confidence a bit so we went round and round in circles a little bit and I got completely and utterly discombobulated, like try blindfolding yourself and whizzing yourself round in a circle 25 times and then you don’t know where you are.

So we rocked up at this house, I thought it must be our house, it must be our house, so I had to let go of the buggy to do some sort of trailing along the wall of this house with my hand, so I left the buggy, put the brakes on and started trailing along and an elderly couple came out and said “you’re all right, love?” and I was like, “yeah, a little bit lost, a little bit lost.” And they said, “where are you looking for? We’re just visiting, where are you looking for?” And I told them my address and I said “I’m sure it’s like exceptionally close, I’m sure.” And then I said “what street are we on?” and they told me a street I’d never heard of in my life, so I’m like okay, so sorry, this is getting very long but you can always edit it down, so they had to go to their neighbour and say “oh do you know where this place is?” and the guy was like, “oh I’ll just get a map.” And I was like, no. And it did turn out that I was only 30 seconds away from my house, but I had sort of walked away from the buggy at that point and I had to actually ask where my child was. I mean it was only a few metres behind me but I did feel exceptionally blind and incompetent that I had actually lost where he was. So anyway, that was my moment of the month where I was only 30 seconds from my house but I could have been miles away for all any of us knew.

steve

You nearly lost your baby and your house.

emma

Nearly lost my baby and my house, but you know what, at the end of the day I figured out that I was able to navigate the world with a buggy and a dog and that was great, to a point anyway. And it was positive generally but the comedy of the elderly couple just sort of looking at me going, right, you know, this girl is really in dire straits, she’s blind, she shouldn’t probably be out, what’s she doing with a buggy and a dog and not knowing where she is, not knowing where her own house is.

simon

I’m trying to think of an example for me as a short person where it’s that confirming annoying stereotypes that people have, so I deliberately don’t want to ever do anything that short people are always kind of teased for, so yeah, a blind person getting lost is it, oh damn it, it really annoys me when that happens or is it part of the deal anyway?

emma

It’s more specifically getting lost very, very close to where you need to be, so you could be lost two metres from what you need to find, but you are lost, you don’t know where it is, you’ve lost perspective. GPS isn’t accurate enough.

simon

I was going to say, there’s Google Maps.

emma

It’s not accurate enough. It’s accurate enough for you because you can do a panoramic sort of view around and say yeah, that’s fine, I can sort of see it over the hill but not for a blind person.

steve

It hasn’t got a voice on it saying…?

emma

Yes it does, it’s turn by turn directions but it’s just not accurate enough, I could be ten metres from the door. I think GPS is ten metres?

simon

Oh I see what you mean.

emma

So I can be ten metres from the door but I’m not at the door and the door could be anywhere for all I know.

simon

I learnt a new word there, trailing. Is that trailing as in you touching, the sense?

emma

It’s quite funny actually, it’s a very official mobility term that mobility teachers use, they’re the people who teach you to get out and about, either with a cane or a dog. And it’s actually a term I learned when I was very little, six or seven years old, where the first aspect of learning how to navigate independently is trailing your hand along walls. So you keep your fingers really safe, you turn your thumb in and you put your hand against the wall. This was pebbledash, so not so good.

simon

Ouch, yeah.

emma

So I wasn’t really doing proper trailing.

steve

You could file your nails at the same time.

emma

But that’s how I learned, you go back to the really old stuff when the chips are down.

damon

There’s a whole language isn’t there around mobility for blind people that they just don’t… indenting?

emma

Out-denting.

damon

Out-denting. Inner shore line, mushroom tip.

emma

Pear tip.

damon

Pear tip, marshmallow tip.

steve

It sounds like druggy talk to me.

simon

You’re keeping us in the dark. Oh marshmallow, these sound like the ends of canes?

emma

Yeah.

simon

So what was the indenting, out-denting, what’s that one?

emma

It’s when you get to a corner and you’re going to cross the road you don’t cross at the corner because it’s harder to hear whether there are cars coming out, so you indent quite a way, so indenting, you move in to the street and then cross over. And then you out-dent again to get back on to the pavement.

damon

To make absolutely sure you don’t waft into the road that you shouldn’t be in.

emma

I mean no one does it once they know the route, you don’t really do it very much, but the dogs...

steve

It’s the terminology, yeah.

emma

It’s the terminology yeah, so trailing, it’s very interesting you picked up on that because it is a very official mobility term.

simon

And as you say, it’s for new, unfamiliar areas, you don’t trail everywhere else because you don’t need to?

emma

I might trail along a wall. If I know fairly well where a door is and I’m using my cane I may trail along a wall to find the door in an unfamiliar building. Or I might trail my hand along to find a lift button say, that kind of thing, so I’ll start a rough point and then trail around to find what I need. But I don’t even know I do it, like that word just came from the bottom of my brain.

simon

I’m making your story longer, but there’s a comedian and I can’t remember who he is, talks about the Virgin train toilets and they always say that that braille info is the other side of the loo right down low. And there’s no way anyone would trail round the whole of a public loo to try and find out…

sTEVE

And if you’re bursting for the loo it’s all problematic isn’t it.

emma

Yeah, but the other thing I always say is that actually accessible loos, they’re a necessary evil for me if I have the dog, she can’t fit into a cubicle and stuff, but they’re really bad for blind people because they’re really big and you have to feel all the dirty places to find the sink and find the hand dryer, I end up washing my hands about three times. And then I have to find the dog and then find the door, and you’re in there ages. Honestly, they’re really bad for blind people but obviously good for the people that actually really, really need them so that’s okay.

simon

Thank you very much Emma. Good luck with your trailing.

emma

Sorry, a bit lengthy there.

simon

Not at all. Damon, a moment of the month from you.

damon

My moment of the month. Can I break the format and refer back to last month to begin with?

simon

I’m just very chuffed that you think that we have a format.

damon

Is that all right? No, it seems like a format to me, this is what we would call a format isn’t it Emma?

emma

Yes.

simon

Oh you crazy radical, messing us up. Go on.

steve

So BBC.

simon

Yeah, this is the revenge. Go on.

damon

So I guess I’ve always… sorry, this is a parent story as well, I’m a dad, I’ve got a seven year old boy, a three year old girl, and last month for the first time my little boy said something I’ve been expecting for quite a long time and it was this. “Daddy, I really wish that you weren’t blind.” And I thought oh dear, this is a bit heart-breaking this, how do I deal with this? And I said, “well why is that Charlie?” He said, “well because then we’d be able to have a proper dog and not just a guide dog.” So that was last month’s thing and then this month…

simon

Well just a minute, how did you follow that up or did you just chuckle?

damon

I think I chuckled.

simon

And your dog got a little bit ratty.

damon

My dog, oh he’s being looked after by your producers in the other office.

steve

Yes, but you could have another dog though couldn’t you?

emma

Yeah, but don’t tell Charlie.

steve

Oh okay, is he going to listen to this?

simon

You could have a couple of dogs, have a recreational and a working dog.

damon

I could, but then you’d find it hard to take the other dog for a walk because if you’re a guide dog owner you’re not allowed to take a second dog out with you. It’s one of the rules.

steve

Because?

emma

But that’s what your seven year old son is supposed do.

damon

Well yeah, I suppose so.

steve

Explain that rule to me, why is that?

damon

Because you’re supposed to concentrate on guiding. There’s other rules aren’t there, you’re not allowed to use a dog when you’re drunk which apparently they’re enforcing that.

emma

That’s the one I was going to say.

damon

They seem to be enforcing that.

emma

Oh really?

damon

Yeah, well it seems to be, there’s a lot of talk about it, there was something in the news about it a few months ago.

simon

But that’s one of the bonuses isn’t it? With me and my mobility scooter, that means if I am drunk I know I’m not going to fall over because I sit on the scooter and you know that your dog will guide you home.

steve

But you’re not allowed to ride a bicycle when you’re drunk. You see you can get done for riding your mobility scooter.

simon

Have I just incriminated myself there?

steve

I think so.

emma

But it’s not like you’re in charge of a vehicle, I suppose you are in charge of a dog, but how are you supposed to get home?

simon

Yeah.

damon

There were so many times when I was a student when I got home and woke up in the morning and thought how did I get home? It was the dog, it was absolutely the dog who got me there.

emma

I know, and then you try and tell people that the dog does not bring you home, it’s a team and you know your own way home. And then they do.

steve

Yeah, but what if you get the dog drunk?

damon

No, I’m pretty sure that’s not, I wouldn’t want to do that.

emma

That’s probably one of the rules.

steve

Yeah, that must be a rule.

emma

Sorry to… you’ve another moment of the month I reckon but...

damon

I’ve got my part two in a second.

emma

Okay, the guy at the tube station today told me that he saw with his own eyes yesterday a guide dog take the Oyster card from the blind man and put it on the reader.

damon

Oh, get a grip.

emma

And I said “no you didn’t.”

simon

So was he not ever taught trailing?

emma

Well actually I said that is probably kind of annoying looking for the thing that you put it on, but he must have trained the dog to do it for his own amusement, because the dogs are very trainable, you can train them to do new stuff that the instructor didn’t train them to do.

simon

I saw a dog take the blind person’s mobile phone and put it on the payment thing, the Apple Pay.

emma

No you didn’t.

simon

And they used a little paw print instead of a fingerprint.

damon

I can believe that.

simon

Damon, do you have a second one?

damon

Well the second part of the story is the other thing that I have been worrying about happening as a blind parent, is when is that moment going to be when he’s a little bit too embarrassed that he’s got a daddy who’s blind. And last Saturday it happened. I was at the gym and Charlie came bowling over to me after his football lesson and he said, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Max is here, can we go and play over by the computers and in the play area please?” and I said, “oh yeah, I could meet Max’s dad couldn’t I?” He said, “actually let’s go home.”

simon

No! But hang on…

steve

Did you think it was that?

damon

It was totally that, and I asked him later and he said “it’s because people don’t know Daddy, people don’t know that you’re blind.” And I think he partly means that people don’t know what it means, people think very little of you and I don’t have a way of dealing with it.

emma

He’s seven?

damon

Nearly seven years old.

emma

Yeah, so I don’t know if he thought into it that deeply did he?

damon

That was my interpretation, maybe I’m giving too much…

emma

I think you might be, what do they call it, projecting a little bit there.

damon

Yeah, yeah I am.

simon

But presumably you’re going to have to say look, we need to come up with a plan Charlie, because I can’t not ever meet any of your friends’ parents.

damon

Well I guess we’ll have to talk to him about how, you know, just to reinforce. I mean I think he thinks I’m pretty cool, as he puts it and I feel sort of like funny about using the word cool because apparently it’s not cool anymore.

emma

You should be saying sick or something?

damon

Sick, like sick or I’m a hipster or something.

steve

You’ve got to have a beard for that don’t you?

simon

Yeah, but also I have no children so how do I know this, but I think if my child said that I’d say well listen, don’t worry about it, I’ve met lots of people so I know how to meet people who haven’t met someone like me before, so…

damon

Blimey, I should take notes.

simon

Well I don’t know.

damon

I don’t know how to deal with it. It feels so much more when you’re a parent, it’s like oh how can I be sensitive, how can I deal with it the way he thinks about it as well? I don’t want to push him into something, I don’t want to upset the apple cart. All of these things.

simon

If you’re meeting a dad in a leisure centre it’s not like here, we’re talking about everything, but they’re not going to start asking you 27 questions about your moment of the month are they, you just do general chitchat. I don’t know, I think you should go for it.

steve

But kid’s minds think in different ways. So thanks Damon, thanks for that, and Simon, Mr Minty, what about your moment of the month?

simon

Two.

steve

Oh you always have two, moments I should have said.

simon

Sorry about that. The first one is increasing pain in my hips, I’ve started using a little stick, but I’ve also now got some heavy duty painkillers and I don’t know if Damon or Emma need painkillers in any shape or form but I’ve just got…

steve

You’re dealing now are you?

simon

No, I’m not dealing.

emma

Not today Simon. Thanks anyway.

simon

Sorry, it wasn’t an offer.

steve

It sounded like it.

simon

I was trying to get a bit of empathy. So Co-codamol, 30 milligrams, I can take up to eight a day and then tramadol which are the big headliners, the first time I took a tramadol I took it at home because I was a bit nervous about it, it was like someone had injected half a bottle of wine inside me really quickly and then made me just float on the clouds. I was kind of skipping around my flat, bearing in mind I can’t even move normally.

steve

Are you sure you’re not dealing, it really sounds like a pitch here?

simon

No, I’m not getting rid of these things, you know what it was, I don’t know if you ever read those press reports and they go oh well this famous person’s become addicted to prescription drugs, and I always feel oh that’s nonsense, how can they do that. Then this sort of heavy duty pain killer, I can absolutely see it, it’s kind of they’re so great it’s a little bit frightening.

steve

That sounds good, I’d like to try some of those.

damon

It’s funny you say that about tramadol because I was given some by my doctor a couple of years ago and I took it home and I decided to bear the back pain instead because I was a bit too frightened to take it.

simon

I’ve had them six weeks, I got them just before Edinburgh because I thought I’ve got to get something while I’m there and didn’t take any. And so I had them six weeks and then when I was at home and safe and not doing something I thought okay, I’ll try one now. Exactly the same.

steve

But would you say once you’ve had one are they as effective each time you take one or do they lower the threshold?

simon

No, I’ve been chasing that high ever since, you know? Never been the same. I’ve been scratching around for it. No.

steve

Well I remember when I had a really bad back pain you gave me one from the States years ago and I couldn’t get out of bed for three days and you gave me this, I’m really against taking pain killers generally, and you gave me one of these, it was red, I can’t remember what it was, and I got out of my bed after about half an hour and that was it.

simon

Today should be the day that I do tell you that it was just a little placebo. Those weren’t even heavy duty, I’ve gone on to the big league. My second bit is, and I got myself confused, there is a new television show called Kitchen Impossible which is Michel Roux Junior and he is obviously a chef, a very famous, well-known chef, and he’s got a bunch of people that come in and he’s teaching them I think. I haven’t seen this by the way so it’s always one of these…

emma

I have.

damon

I have.

simon

Oh thanks everybody, we’ll come to you. So has he got a group of differently disabled people that he’s teaching? Is that right?

emma

Yes.

simon

Okay. So I saw a little Twitter storm, conversation, whichever way you want to look at it, Cherylee Houston from Coronation Street, Lisa Hammond’s been on it from EastEnders, and they were saying what is this, we must stop these sort of voyeuristic watching the disabled trying to… that was a deliberate mistake there, doing…

steve

Well what side was it on, what channel?

simon

It’s Channel 4 isn’t it?

steve

Yeah, they’re a bit… go on then.

simon

And yet I spoke to some disability, I don’t know, rights people, some activists and they’re like I love that programme, I think it’s really great. And it just threw up that whole dilemma again of should it be disability and disabled characters blended into the main show, or do you have specific shows? I mean Damon and Emma, you’ve seen this, what did you think of it?

damon

Oh, do you know, do you remember the programme, Different Stokes?

simon

I do. “What are you talking about Willis?”

damon

Yeah, “what are you talking about Willis?” My mum always used to have a phrase, because she used to hate me watching it and she used to say I hate this programme so much because it’s like they’re black but we love ‘em. And I’ve come to think that some of Channel 4’s shows are a little bit like that around disability.

emma

It’s really interesting, yeah.

simon

But there was a philosophy that was we don’t do equality, we just get any disabled person on anything, let’s not try and pick the right or the wrong, you just do anything. So do you feel it’s a bit preachy then? It is a bit kind of oh bless them, aren’t they…?

steve

Is it preachy or is it voyeuristic?

damon

I’ve got to say, I didn’t like the beginning of the show, I don’t know what Emma thinks on this, but the beginning of it felt like, you know how they do on television, they will get together all the big clips right at the top of the hour.

simon

Yeah, this is what you’re going to see.

damon

And they will show the rowdiness, the most extreme end of disability and tics and autism and all this kind of thing at the top of the show, but I found myself quite glued for the rest of the hour after they’d got over themselves with the clips at the beginning. I don’t know what Emma thinks?

emma

I don’t know what to say really because…

simon

Because you work for the BBC and have to not have an opinion?

emma

It’s really tricky because I really don’t like it. I didn’t watch the second one, I watched whatever was on before it and possibly what was on after it and I didn’t watch it, I actually specifically left the room. And I’ve watched an enormous amount of disability related television in my time. I found it difficult to cope with the fact that most of them were really awful at what they were doing and I found it difficult to cope with the fact that it would be very, very difficult for some of the people with some of their impairments to work in a kitchen, like extraordinarily difficult. And it just didn’t sit right with me at all.

steve

So can we go back a step, the premise is to put disabled people into a working kitchen?

emma

Yes a working kitchen, and put them into restaurants serving and that kind of thing. So I didn’t watch the second one, I haven’t seen it since, but I found it a difficult watch, a very difficult watch. I love the name though.

damon

In some ways it’s not that out there because disabled people have often been linked with the three Fs haven’t they, flowers, food and filth in terms of jobs and employment in the past, and so this was food and we’re quite used to seeing disabled people trained up in the food business. Simon, you know loads about this.

simon

Yeah, but I think the two of you, you haven’t seen this Steve have you?

steve

No.

simon

The person I spoke to Damon, who said I was glued to it, although feeling a bit uncomfortable in some ways, but was glued to it but Emma if you follow Lisa and Cherylee it was like no we shouldn’t be doing this sort of stuff and I’ve got to watch it maybe because there’s nothing more annoying than someone talking about a show they’ve not seen, but it was the principle.

damon

But I’d go back to Channel 4, and I shouldn’t be saying this, I work for the BBC, this is bad, but you know, Channel 4’s philosophy on television programmes, there does seem to be this we’re disabled but we love ‘em kind of thing, whereas I would much rather see Channel 4 being really bold and including disabled people in everyday telly.

simon

And that was the argument, that was the point. But does it have to be an either or? If you think there’s enough going on both sides you do keep it happy.

steve

I haven’t seen it either, that’s a slight bomb, but it does sound to me how you’re describing it it’s totally voyeuristic, it’s not about… Is it about trying to overcome, or how to work in a kitchen if you’re disabled?

emma

Actually it’s a good premise, it’s about how to become employable. It’s about disabled people are employable, they just need to be given opportunities which is all we would wholeheartedly say that many, many disabled people who are unemployed could have a job and keep a job and be employed, only for this, this and this, and a big part of that is often opportunity. So Michel Roux Junior is giving them some opportunity to work in a really tough environment and to do things that really, really challenges them and so I can totally see the premise and I really like it.

steve

Do you think that what Damon’s saying, the kind of idea behind Channel 4 making these programmes is not that idea, I mean it’s a good premise that way, but do you think they deliberately try to make it confrontational or trying to make it that people are going to have hardships and so they’re going to be laughing at disabled people?

emma

Well I think they just make it the same way as everybody makes all other TV shows. So I’m not going to dis Channel 4’s disability remit, because like you watch some things about streets of people on Channel 5 and people with millions of kids and it’s all the same.

simon

Well talent shows are all about their back story and so on.

emma

Yeah, so I wouldn’t say that that’s the issue, I would say that it’s a brilliant premise but I found it… I haven’t fully deconstructed it and organised it in my head and figured out why I found it such a difficult watch.

damon

To be fair they’re making accessible telly aren’t they for the masses and they are bringing disability to that audience.

emma

Which is a good thing. It’s a good thing in general.

simon

I think the debate will continue.

emma

Yeah, we could talk about this for ever.

simon

Okay, our show’s not that long Emma, we can’t do it forever. We’ll get you back though. Steve Best, our token non-disabled, have you come up with something?

steve

Yeah, well it’s kind of going back to the good old our starting days really as I went to the Comedy Store to take some photos of all things and they had Chris McCausland there.

damon

I like Chris McCausland.

steve

Yes. And he was one of our original members.

simon

The original line-up.

steve

The line-up at the Edinburgh Festival 2005, and it was just nice to see him again, I hadn’t seen him for a long, long time and we talked about Abnormally Funny People and he did a set and it was actually last but one, penultimate act. Actually it was a charity gig and he was the only disabled person on the charity gig and it was a children’s charity and it was just good to see a set again actually.

simon

I’m presuming it’s a different set from 2005?

steve

It was completely different, unlike some of mine, but it was great to see him and what I did notice and it was something that he kind of did the first time was he hardly, actually this time he didn’t do it at all, mention being blind, his disability at all.

simon

He used to just do a one-liner to kind of…

steve

Break the ice.

simon

Well not break the ice, I just thought he was getting it over and done with and then he moves on to what he wanted to do.

steve

I just watched his set and I can’t remember him doing anything, even at the beginning, although he was led on, I don’t know how he did it at the show we did. Was he brought on?

simon

Oh it was great fun at Edinburgh. Obviously we did it every day but the plan was, because we were all in a straight line weren’t we so he was the last on, and we mocked him up so he would bump into me and we would do a joke, Laurel and Hardy fall about, but really that was not him accidently but he was just finding his position would hit me and then we found our position, so yeah. But no, he didn’t get led on, only the first couple of shows.

steve

So coming up next everybody, we will speak to Damon and Emma about their work.

 

[Jingle: If you’d like to get in touch you can email us on podcast@abnormallyfunnypeople.com]  

simon

So back in February this was show nine, we had the original hosts of the BBC Ouch show, that was Matt Fraser and Liz Carr and they came in and talked about their time presenting the show, but we missed a trick, we didn’t get the creative team, the producers behind BBC Ouch and now we do. You’ve heard them with their moments of the month, now we’re going to have a proper conversation with them. Now, I was trying to remember the first time I heard about Ouch, the website then and the podcast was around 2004 or something like that, maybe 2005, and we were just starting Abnormally Funny People. Podcasts were very new, very exciting, you two created something very unique, I mean Damon, how did it come about in the first place?

damon

The podcast. Well the website had been around since about 2002 and then in 2006 we had to get round an awful lot of BBC red tape in order to do a podcast in the first instance. It’s not technically allowed in terms of the BBC Charter to do your own podcast at the BBC, it’s fine to rebroadcast programmes that have already been broadcast and put them out as podcasts, but this is red tape, boring legal spiegel beagle, legal beagle detail that you probably don’t want to hear about. But this is how we started, you know, can we actually do it?

steve

So no other sections of the BBC actually had a podcast, you were the first people to try that?

damon

We were the first only for made for web podcast.

emma

And still are.

damon

And probably still are I think.

steve

Oh really?

damon

Maybe there’ll be a change in the Charter renewal, who knows, but I think it’ll be quite…

simon

But presumably you want to get it the other way around that you would have said okay well let’s broadcast it on radio and then we’ll put the podcast out, but they said no, just stay at podcast. But still nevertheless, this was still new, the concept, the idea, what you did, how did that all work?

damon

We did a six months trial. I guess I wanted to do a show. I had done a podcast in about the year 2000 for a few years called Blind Kiss.

simon

Year 2000?

damon

Yeah.

simon

Wow.

steve

So Simon and I were trying to discuss, when was the first kind of podcast out, was that around that time?

damon

No, it’s probably about 2005.

emma

No, Damon’s podcast that he did in 2000 was not what you’d call now a podcast but was in fact a downloadable hour of audio that even on very quick university networks at that time took, as I remember, five or six hours to download.

steve

No!

damon

I met Matt and Liz in a café on the South Bank if I remember rightly and I sat and I talked to them about the idea and it was amazing, because I had Matt on one side, Liz on the other side and it was like I could hear this podcast unfolding in front of me, this crazy sort of disability banter, this crip stuff as we call it.

steve

As Liz generally calls it. Oh no, both Matt and Liz yeah.

emma

Yeah, they’re crip users.

damon

Crip or crips.

steve

Were you there as well Emma at the start then?

emma

No. Do you want to finish your story or will I chip in?

damon

No, got for it.

emma

I was a Blind Kiss fan, a huge Blind Kiss fan. I mean I’m born blind so I’d always been blind and I’d always talked about being blind in a certain way and in a way that said I didn’t mind being blind to much, which always caught everybody on the hop and I always made jokes about it and it was always quite funny, but I thought I was the only person doing that because the other blind people I knew, or most of the other blind people I knew were quite serious. And then I found Blind Kiss and I fell in love with it and it absolutely spoke to me and it even helped me appreciate that I was disabled, being blind meant being disabled which is something I hadn’t really thought about either. So I was a big fan of that and then I moved on from that to Ouch when Blind Kiss finished and Ouch started and I was a big, big fan of Ouch because Damon says that the podcast was Blind Kiss transferring to pan-disability, but Ouch was the start of that, the actual website from 2002, it was like humour you’ve never ever, ever seen before, humour that was as we know very self-deprecating, very kind of celebratory in a lot of ways and sometimes dark.

simon

So were you working at the BBC then?

emma

No, I was only a young ‘un still but after university I ran a magazine for blind people, much more straight-laced but with like blindy blunders which was like people would send in their kind of things like my story about going to the wrong house, stuff like that. So I had a little thing like that but I was looking for a job in the media and I basically knocked on Damon’s door and then a job came up and I was already completely entrenched in what they were doing and a really big fan and I had done media at university and I’d been doing audio as a little job, so that’s how I started.

steve

So what year was that?

emma

I started actually ten years ago at the end of October so 2005, yeah.

steve

So right at the beginning.

simon

For the listeners let’s play a couple of clips maybe, so we asked you your kind of favourite moments, now presumably that was quite a hard thing to do but we’ve got a couple of illustrative clips.

emma

Kind of impossible, yes.

simon

Emma, do you want to introduce your one? What’s going on?

emma

Yes this is an example of our famous/infamous parlour game based on the parlour game, animal, vegetable or mineral, it’s called vegetable, vegetable or vegetable, where we got a disabled person on the line and tried to guess what was quote, wrong, unquote with them, and so there was always a different disabled person with a different disability and sometimes we got people in to help guess and one of those times was the great Dr Sarah Jarvis who I’m sure you’ve seen on lots of things and heard on Jeremy Vine and lots of different things, she’s a great speaker, and we got her on to guess what was wrong with the person on the line.

 

[start of clip]

liz

We have with us the resident doctor on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show, Sarah Jarvis.

matt

Hello Sarah.

sarah

I’m feeling awfully nervous.

matt

Oh no, don’t be nervous. The shoe’s on the other foot now, eh. Can I just ask a question because I find doctors, there’s two sorts of doctors for me, and I think we can pretty much succinct-ify it down to this. What are you like? If somebody asks for Prozac do you give it to them or do you just slap them around the face and tell them to get a life?

liz

Contestant, we’ve got somebody called Alan on the line. Hello Alan.

alan

Hi.

matt

Remember, only answer yes or no, and the time starts now.

liz

Alan, have you got arms?

alan

Yes.

matt

Do you get angry at normal people?

alan

Yes.

liz

Do you have a neuro condition, neurological?

alan

Yes.

matt

Okay, Sarah, any ideas yet?

sarah

Has this got worse as you’ve got older?

alan

Yes.

liz

You’ve got ten seconds.

matt

Alan, are you suffering from East End-it is?

alan

No.

matt

Okay.

liz

Are you a pearly king?

alan

Sorry?

sarah

Is it to do with drugs that your mother took when she was pregnant with you?

alan

No.

matt

Oh thanks for the reference Sarah, like it.

liz

Come on, put us out of our misery Alan, what’s wrong with you?

alan

Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

liz

Oh no, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, oh!

matt

She’s heard of it.

sarah

I can spell it.

liz

That old chestnut.

sarah

Absolutely, I have to tell you Alan, it’s an absolute pleasure because I have never in my life met anyone with Charcot-Marie-Tooth so it’s a complete pleasure.

liz

What is it Doctor? Tell us about it.

sarah

It’s very rare, I’m just going to look it up.

liz

She’s getting the book out Alan.

matt

So while she’s reading what the symptoms are…

liz

Why don’t you tell us what it is?

matt

Blimey, I’m glad I didn’t go to her with my problems.

sarah

I’ve never actually seen a case.

matt

Alan, when people find out you’ve got the shark thing what questions do they ask you?

liz

Shark fin-itis.

alan

They always think I’ve got something wrong with my teeth.

 

[end of clip]

steve

That was a great clip, I haven’t heard that before and it’s funny watching Emma and Damon in the studio because they’re laughing their heads off and they’ve heard it a few times.

emma

Lots of times.

steve

And I remember when Matt and Liz were on the show and they were telling me about the vegetable, vegetable or vegetable and I just thought that was just amazing, especially for the BBC to do that so many years ago. And to do that now might be, I don’t know, would you get away with that now?

simon

You got found out didn’t you? Because it’s not there now. Did they finally catch up with you?

steve

It’s just a great concept, I really love it.

emma

It would probably be more difficult to do nowadays. At the time we were slightly under the radar, we were a website in a part of the BBC that not as many people looked at maybe.

simon

Do you think the fact that you were not broadcast, did that help a bit as well? Because they were saying well hang on, we haven’t got to check this for that broadcast but this is a completely separate thing? Is that coincidence?

emma

Well yes, I think not being broadcast probably did kind of facilitate some stuff but it would have been still nice to be broadcast.

steve

How long did that section of the programme run on for? Was that the whole time BBC Ouch was on Health, because it’s changed from BBC Health to News.

emma

It was BBC Learning for a long time, and no, we did veg after we went to News too didn’t we for a bit?

damon

We did, for a little while.

emma

Yeah, we did a few. We did a hundred of them, or I don’t know, like many, many, many of them.

simon

I remember when Liz and Matt came on and I remember saying how annoying, because I did it a couple of times, hosting, and I took it seriously, I wanted to get the answers and those two, you can tell, it is just inappropriate, silliness.

emma

Do you have a head?

steve

That’s what I was going to say, Liz saying do you have a head.

simon

So if we continue with this, and maybe there’s a warning, it’s slightly inappropriate humour, although I must confess it did make me giggle. Damon, we’ve got another clip. How would you describe this one?

damon

Okay, so this is a moment where we had a guest down the line from Sweden, a disabled comedian with cerebral palsy called Jesper Odelberg and we knew from speaking to him beforehand that his Swedish accent kind of got in the way a little bit, quite apart from the fact that he has that sort of cerebral palsy voice as well which a lot of people find difficult to understand he also had a Swedish accent. And so we thought it would be really funny if we got an interpreter in, but not an interpreter of Swedish, an interpreter with cerebral palsy, and this is what it sounded like.

 

[start of clip]

jesper

I had some tattoos, I scared them, you know…

matt

I’m sorry, I’m just going to come out and say it, I’m being really polite, I’m having a slight problem understanding our friend, Jesper, is there somebody that can speak, you know?

liz

Well we did think this might happen.

matt

Can we get a translator or something?

liz

Is that all right. Damon, can we actually get a translator in?

matt

No offence mate, but it’s the combination, can we get somebody that speaks…?

liz

Well somebody that speaks your language, that would be useful.

matt

Have you got anyone?

jesper

I have.

liz

Laurence, meet Jesper.

laurence

Hi Jesper.

jesper

Hi Laurence.

matt

Jesper, so you know, Laurence is one of your lot, he’s a comedian.

liz

Yeah, he’s English.

matt

He understands everything that you say because he’s also got funny bones.

liz

Yeah, he’s a CP-er as well. We heard your clip, Love in the Handicapped Toilet. Have you had love in the handicapped toilet?

matt

Have you ever made love in the handicapped toilet?

jesper

[makes noise]

matt

What was that Laurence, can you translate it for us?

laurence

It was [makes noise].

matt

It is, it’s like a natural thing, they completely understand each other.

liz

They do, it’s like they’re twins.

 

[end of clip]

simon

When I listened to that when you sent it over I started laughing. I suppose it does go beyond the line, there’s also that bit of when you spend so much time with disabled people and comedians the threshold level of what is acceptable and what isn’t just flies along and one of the reasons when we set up Abnormally Funny People and having Steve Best as our token non-disabled was I said occasionally I don’t want it to turn into this disability group where we forget all perspective of shocking, what the outside world might think, however we were all giggling throughout that, I mean that’s a beautiful…

steve

Can I be honest though, when I did first hear that I remember saying I’ve got to speak to Simon, is this okay, as the token non-disabled.

damon

Do you think it went too far?

steve

Well it kind of felt to me that the guys were kind of… but now hearing it a second time I found it funny, because the first time I thought are they laughing at the cerebral palsy or  the fact that they’re mucking around with the accent? So there’s a lot going on in there but the second time listening it’s much funnier as in just purely mucking around really.

simon

I think Steve and I can talk about this for ten minutes because it is the complexity of disability and comedy. I mean Damon, how did that go down when that went out?

damon

Well as you say, it’s really complex because you listen and you can hear the fact that, yeah, it’s almost too hard to decode, this piece, because you’ve got a Swedish man and an English man but they sort of both sound a bit similar because they’ve got cerebral palsy and somehow that’s a little bit funny. And Matt and Liz, I think they’re laughing ahead of time, they’re not mocking Jesper, I don’t think they would want to, they knew what was coming up, they knew Laurence was about to chime in in the way that he did do, but it is challenging, I mean we couldn’t just I think stay firmly over one side of the line when we were doing comedic stuff, you know, Matt and Liz brought their genius to the show, we created the arena of fun as it were, you know, we threw everything into the studio, we booked the guests and whatever and we threw some of the ideas in and it all came together, hopefully in front of the microphone.

emma

You can hear the energy of Matt and Liz on that, they’re having the time of their lives and being brilliant on top as well.

simon

And it’s a very good word, that energy, that’s the bit that lifts out and you’re itching to hear what comes next. I mean, did you get any complaints?

damon

We did get complaints, in fact I think it’s possibly the only thing we ever did that we really got some actually quite vicious response didn’t we?

emma

Yeah.

damon

Some quite upset responses from some people.

simon

But it is a very interesting bit, and Damon obviously because you’re quite right to say look, I think that might be over the line and especially that first initial listen, but is that classic of the non-disabled person getting upset on your behalf? Were there people with cerebral palsy writing in going...? Oh there were?

damon

Yeah, there were.

simon

Oh jeepers, okay.

emma

So maybe it was too far.

damon

Yeah, it’s entirely possible, it was too far for some people, I mean everybody has their own line don’t they.

simon

Right, absolutely.

damon

And it’s possible for some people it was too much, they didn’t get it, they’re not as you say down with the disability mood and all that. And again, this viciousness that disabled people can have when they rip into each other when they’re in private sometimes which we all know and I think love. Is it love? Do we love it? Yeah we do don’t we?

simon

Yeah, we adore it.

damon

We adore it! But we were trying to experiment a little bit but luckily I don’t think our editors were listening to that episode when we put it out.

simon

And that’s probably my bit because if you did a joke about short people and then we got a clown here to come and duh, duh, duh I would have probably written in at that point, so you’re right, each of us have that line of what it is.

damon

But we had two people with cerebral palsy sort of willingly taking part in, well Jesper didn’t know anything about it.

simon

Did he not?

damon

Admittedly, no Jesper didn’t know. No, that would have ruined the gag if we’d have told him wouldn’t it? But Laurence was certainly in with it and we told him about it.

simon

We’ve got a lovely surprise for you too, we’ve got… No we haven’t really. You gave me a face there Emma, just for a moment.

steve

But you’re saying you couldn’t get away with it, or you wouldn’t be able to do that now, is that because you’ve moved from BBC Health to BBC News? Is there a different remit, are there more people listening? Could you do that now?

damon

We were in BBC Learning not BBC Health, I don’t think we’d ever have been able to do it in BBC Health. It’s a different time, it’s a different era, that was 2007 was it, somewhere around there.

emma

It was early.

damon

And it was one of the early podcasts and very crucially it was before the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross incident on Radio 2.

simon

Oh yes. They made a massive difference to all that didn’t they? It’s amazing isn’t it?

damon

I’m afraid so. For us what it meant was that everything audio and visual that went out of the BBC was then closely scrutinised. I remember when I used to produce the In Touch programme years ago in the late ’90s, when I finished producing the show at about seven o'clock on a Tuesday evening I would pick it up, pick the tape up, walk along to Presentation and they would just put it out at 8:40.

simon

Wow.

damon

Nowadays it goes through compliance, one exec has to listen to it and one other. And you can understand now why Ouch started to change I think at that moment.

simon

So it wasn’t necessarily the move, it was more the approach of the BBC changed.

steve

The mood changed.

emma

It was a combination.

damon

Incidentally Ouch started to change several years before we moved over to BBC News and it was because of this.

emma

I think the thing that BBC News did was it gave Ouch a much bigger potential audience and what happened was a lot more people who weren’t down with the disability mood as we’ve been saying were listening. And also it caters for a wider audience now. And we’ve had some amazing guests since we moved to News, it’s a totally different show, it’s a different show, but it changed gradually over time and for numerous different reasons.

simon

Yeah, and I think things naturally evolve anyway, they should have to naturally evolve, and I suppose it leaves gaps for us to be a little bit more, we’re never quite as irreverent though.

damon

This is where you jump in isn’t it?

emma

This is where all of these great people, brilliant, funny, clever disabled people make their own podcasts. I would love that.

emma

Emma’s one of my favourite guests.

steve

We’ve got to find these people.

emma

Well I didn’t mean just you.

damon

There is a gap to be filled now, a massive gap.

emma

Yeah absolutely, and there’s absolutely no way we would say that that’s not the case, I would love to listen to heaps and heaps of different types of disability podcasts and really funny ones.

steve

Oh we’ve found our sponsor then.

emma

I have no money. But, you know, yeah there’s a huge gap, there is a massive gap, whether it be on YouTube, whether it be whatever, if it’s not podcasts it would be just lovely to read and listen to and look at loads and loads of great disability talent all the time doing different things. You know, we can’t do everything and we wouldn’t want to.

simon

So when you’re not Ouch-ing Damon, and you’ve alluded to other bits, I mean I just see you as, or both of you I see as Ouch people and I don’t know about your background. You’ve been producing for a while, you’ve been doing other things, is that right?

damon

Oh, well since Ouch?

simon

Before.

damon

Well before I started on Ouch I suppose I was in television, I worked for the BBC’s Disability Programmes Unit.

simon

Yes, I remember that.

damon

You might be one of the only people who remembers the fuss that was caused, I found myself catapulted onto the front page of The Sun newspaper when I...

simon

Was it a kiss and tell?

damon

No, ‘BBC hires blind TV director’ was the headline, and it caused a great deal of fuss and they ran a phone poll as to whether I should keep my job or not and nice things like that. So this was where I came on before and I suppose before I started at the BBC I was quite a part of that disability arts movement, that’s where I met Matt Fraser. He came to my first ever poetry gig actually because I was a performance poet.

simon

Oh, I’m going to speak to you both on this because I always think that the producer is the person who did want to do it but they thought you know what, maybe that’s not going to be fun, I’ll do all the stuff behind. Is that a complete myth as well or do you secretly want to be up there or in front of the mic or performing or whatever?

emma

I think I would do either, but I probably now know so much about what’s going on under the hood that it might be a little bit more tricky but I would do either. I love producing and I love the creativity of that and I’d find it difficult to just come in but I would do both.

simon

Yes, as when we were preparing for this podcast, it was a job, Emma was producing this one because you can’t help it and that’s great.

emma

You see I’m on maternity leave, I’m not doing it at the moment.

damon

It also pays much better and it’s far more stable than being a presenter.

steve

Very more stable I’d say.

helen

So there is obviously an element of choice.

emma

Yes that’s true.

simon

Steady but not more pay presumably if you’re a major presenter?

emma

Oh well yes, so presenters get yeah, one off payments for the show or whatever whereas the producer’s been working for a week to get the show together.

simon

But none of us do it for that reason we know that. But Emma, you said earlier on you’d done your bits and bobs and then approached Ouch. But it’s really hard to get to work for the BBC, did you have a link in with Damon or how did you do it?

emma

Oh well I filled in an application form, did an interview, and got the job.

simon

Oh I’m so sorry.

steve

Did you tick the box, disability?

damon

It does work folks.

emma

I did tick the box for disability, it was a disability website. Yeah, so I went through the channels, all I meant I suppose by approaching Ouch is that I rang or emailed Damon quite a long time before when I was running my little magazine for blind people and asked him for an interview and did a 22 year old media enthusiast thing and said any jobs, is there a job? You know, so I did do that but I went through all the regular channels then when a job did come up like six months later or something like that.

simon

So say we’re a year, two years down the line and Emma’s back from maternity leave, Damon you’re there, what’s going to happen with Ouch in the future? What’s the plans, what’s the thoughts?

damon

Well Ouch is in BBC News and we’re doing a few different roles really, the podcast I think is aimed a little bit more just at disabled people and that kind of stakeholder group. Stakeholder group, do you like that? BBC speak. Management speak.

simon

I liked it, I’m not sure you liked it the way you said it.

damon

Those were my words, not from the BBC. And the website tends to be a little bit more aimed at the more mainstream.

emma

Everybody.

damon

Everybody really.

emma

People who use the app who click onto BBC every day and see our articles on the home page.

damon

But we try to bring different stories that aren’t perhaps your usual kind of sport or tragic or inspirational story, we bring stuff in in the middle.

simon

So it comes on the main BBC website but you’ve got the BBC Ouch bit on that?

damon

It’s BBC News, and actually BBC Ouch is now just the podcast. There is now a thing called the Disability Index, BBC Disability News.

emma

Nobody wants to know any of this.

damon

No one wants to know. And that’s where all of the articles that we used to do goes now.

simon

I know that because I know when we were in Edinburgh and said to you guys we were up there performing you very kindly said oh okay write a piece on what it’s like. And there is that huge difference, is that that piece was on the home page of BBC News.

emma

And got potentially hundreds of thousands.

damon

Hundreds and thousands of hits.

emma

And if you put the comments on you get hundreds of comments as well.

damon

And this is what BBC News has brought us, it’s amazing, it’s a great platform and back in the old days of old Ouch we would have something like 200,000 hits per week as opposed to 400,000 per article or more and that’s in a day.

simon

It’s similar figures to us, very similar.

steve

Because how many people actually listen to the podcast then, the Ouch?

damon

It’s very difficult to know actually and actually the system has just broken so we don’t know what the latest figures are.

simon

I’m glad you said that because we have no end of trouble trying to find out through iTunes and stuff.

emma

Yeah, because it sits in so many different places. We do AudioBoom as well and I think we get quite a few.

simon

Yes, that’s what we do.

damon

At a very conservative guess it’s over 30,000.

steve

Wow. That’s a few less than us isn’t it?

simon

Yes, I mean you must be very disappointed but keep trying, we always saying this, keep trying and you’ll get there in the end.

steve

Well thank you Emma and Damon, that’s very lovely, thank you for coming. And so next up we’ll talk to… who are we going to talk to next? Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet.

simon

He’ll be pleased with that introduction I think. Robin, what’s new in the world of tech and accessibility?

robin

Well good evening everyone or morning or afternoon, depending on when you’re listening to this. I think one thing that’s a really hot story recently that’s come out in the last week or so is that the BBC are finally and hopefully after lots of popular demand, certainly I’ve emailed them about this in the past, made their back episodes, many of them over 7,000 hours’ worth available for purchase. And there’s a BBC store, it’s at store.bbc.com and it’s only web based at the moment so you have to go to a browser to purchase and also to view but being the BBC obviously it’s a very accessible experience. So it’s got titles like Dr Who, Dad’s Army, Faulty Towers, Morecambe and Wise, Blackadder, things like that, and also the prices are a fraction of what they are on for example iTunes. So I think it’s like £1.89 for an episode, £7.99 for a series, that sort of thing. So I thoroughly recommend people go to store.bbc.com.

steve

But wasn’t there a store before? I didn’t realise there wasn’t one before.

robin

Not for digital downloads. I’m not sure what the store sold before because I’ve never really visited it but there was a press release went out recently saying that things are now available for digital download. The only slight hiccup at the moment is that titles have captions, you know, subtitles, and some have BSL, signers in the corner, but as yet audio description isn’t available as an option on any of the titles. So watch that space.

simon

We’ll get Emma and Damon to sort that out I think when they go back to the BBC.

emma

Yeah, we’ll fix that tomorrow.

damon

Yeah, it’ll be all right.

robin

Okay good.

simon

There’s a problem, I love the idea, obviously my first bit was saying well hang on, we are BBC licence fee payers, why am I buying the programme that I’ve already paid for once? So can people buy it internationally as well?

robin

That’s a very good question and the dot com bit, I haven’t got the answer to that, I don’t know if the other guys have, but BBC.com is obviously their global domain, bbcnews.com is incredibly popular across the world, so that’s a really good question and I don’t know the answer.

simon

We’re getting shakes of the head. Okay we’ll have to find that out.

steve

And so have you got another one there?

robin

Yes, so briefly a week or so ago there were the RIDI Awards which stands for Recruitment Industry Diversity and Inclusion Awards.

simon

I was there Robin.

robin

You were indeed.

simon

And I opened the event, forgetting the name, it’s Recruitment Industry Disability Initiatives.

robin

Oh, okay then. We were eagerly awaiting to see whether AbilityNet for example managed to scoop and award and we ended up coming away with three which was absolutely fantastic. Simon was indeed the compere and we had a brilliant live performance from one of the Abnormally Funny People.

steve

Laurence.

robin

Yeah absolutely, it was a brilliant night had by all. I wanted to mention Clear Talents and getting a job when you’ve got a disability is still very much a challenge, even with this fantastic technology that’s around that really does level the playing field. There was a really interesting bit of desk research that a company called Equal Approach did a while ago. They applied for 20 vacancies with a CV and covering letter and then they applied for the same 20 vacancies with the same CV and covering letter and they changed the name in each case and they ticked the box which said they have a disability which is obviously if they tick that then there’s a legal requirement that recruiters make reasonable adjustments. In the first instance they got 20 responses, in the second they got zero.

So this is a huge challenge and Clear Talents which went away with three awards, it’s basically an online tool that sort of squares this circle or bridges this gap. Anyone can go there, if you’re applying for a job you can go to cleartalents.com, create a profile which basically you tick things that apply to you and depending on what you tick at a higher level it drills down very in-depth. And it’s not just about disability or impairment, it’s right across the nine characteristics, so race, religion, gender, stature, caring responsibilities, ethnicity, all that sort of thing. And what the recruiter gets is a report that gives them the answers, so it’s as far from a tick box that is a very worrying thing for a recruiter to see because they go into panic mode. And then there’s one for people who are already in work if you go to cleartalentsondemand.com then that’s a free one for employees to use to tell their managers or HR of issues that they’re having at work. So I would thoroughly recommend that people go and check out those online tools.

simon

Thank you Robin, I always feel as if every ten years they do one of those sort of applications where there’s one set like this and one set like that and it scares me that every ten years they come back with those sort of low results or response results. Once you declare you’ve got a disability or I think you use an ethnic sounding name or something. It’s just a bit scary that it’s still happening, but that sounds good stuff. Interesting. Thank you so much Robin.

robin

Thanks guys.

simon

We will speak to you soon.

steve

So we have Shannon on the line, so Shannon how are you? How’s life in Los Angeles?

SHANNON

It’s good thank you, it’s nice to be back. Thankfully the weather has taken a little dip for the chilly which is a welcome relief because it was ridiculously boiling throughout summer in September, so it’s nice to wear long sleeves.

steve

So summer in September. It’s gone nasty here from August, so interesting. Yes, anything else happening?

shannon

Let me see what else. Well my leg is now bent down to 90 degrees so I’m allowed to be independent and nipping around on my own which is very nice, no longer needing people to help me everywhere I go with my leg. I got in and out of a taxi on my own last week so that was a big deal for me.

simon

I think I liked that on Facebook, it was very exciting.

SHANNON

Yes, so I feel like I’m slowly getting my independence back which is a massive relief, four months of being laid up with a broken leg in a city where you know a handful of people, it’s pretty rough.

simon

So how’s life being a disabled person in LA?

shannon

Well it’s been funny recently because I think I mentioned on the last podcast with Liz when she was saying do people just think you’re temporarily disabled, and since I’ve come back and my leg is now bent to 90 degrees but I still have a very substantial leg brace encasing my leg I just have so many people coming up to me in the street and just going “woah, ACL, oh my god is that your ACL? Did you do your ACL?” Obviously it’s been a quick learning curve in what ACL is?

simon

The cruciate ligament.

shannon

Ligament, yes.

steve

I wouldn’t have guessed that, I wouldn’t know at all.

simon

What is it?

shannon

Yeah, it’s the anterior cruciate ligament which is around the knee area and when you bust it, tear it, do anything to it it’s incredibly painful and it’s a very long period of recovery. It happens to footballers quite a lot.

simon

That’s how I knew it.

shannon

Yeah, and also I think out here it happens to skateboarders and surfers and snowboarders and skiers. Obviously this being California there’s quite a lot of sports and everybody’s quite up on their athleticism shall we say.

steve

So they still think you’re temporarily disabled, is that the thing?

shannon

Yeah, I’m getting that a lot, I had it again in the supermarket two days ago, a woman just came up to me and she was like, “oh wow, ACL?” and I was “no, fractured tib and fib.”

simon

No, but shouldn’t you be saying yeah, surfboard crash, wipe out, why don’t you buy into it?

steve

Shark attack.

simon

Because then if they continued the conversation with like surfboard slang I wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about and I’d sound like some loser who just watched Point Break a lot.

simon

Just say laters.

shannon

It’s like well hard. But yes, so that’s been weird.

simon

Well we wish you well, we do hope that the work keeps, or does start coming through and we will speak to you very soon.

shannon

I look forward to it. Enjoy your day.

steve

Thanks Shannon.

simon

Thanks Shannon, bye.

 

[Jingle: If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard please leave us a review or a rating on AudioBoom or on iTunes.]

simon

We are coming to the end of the show but first of all a big thank you to Emma Tracey and to Damon Rose. We will put up links to all their stuff and the things that you can find out about them.

Steve

Yes, so what’s up next with you Emma? Anything happening?

emma

Me? I’m childproofing my house because my child’s about to start crawling and walking. I’ve already got him a baby jail/playpen which he actually likes which is good. You see, this is boring, you don’t want to hear this.

steve

No we did all that with our kids. Do you put those kind of rubber corners everywhere as well?

emma

Yes.

steve

We did that and they just fell off and we tended not to use them after that.

damon

And where are you gigging Emma?

Emma

Where am I gigging? So yeah, doing that, putting bells, getting him socks with bells on so I know where he is, figuring out how to change his nappy when he rolls across the room, that kind of thing, that’s what I’m doing.

simon

Okay, that just sounds adorable to have your child walking around with little bells. I think I’m thinking of Christmas and I’m getting it all inappropriate aren’t I?

emma

Or a cat.

steve

I think if you’re constantly hearing the bells it might get a bit annoying though in the end?

emma

Well yeah, but it’s better than not knowing where he is.

steve

Oh course,

simon

Well you could get a little chip implanted, something like that, with an app?

emma

Yeah, I think I’ll go with bells.

SIMON

Thought you might. Damon, what are you up to?

DAMON

Well it seems I’ve got to find a new podcast to listen to.

STEVE

Ah that’s very nice, yeah.

DAMON

Yeah, I’m going to have to…

STEVE

You never know Damon, we might get there.

DAMON

Okay, all right well that would be nice to know. Other than that we’re looking at, I live in Suffolk so I commute to London every day which is daft, so we’re looking at moving back to London at the moment. It’s a ridiculous move, I don’t think it’ll happen.

STEVE

That’s very unusual for people to move back into London isn’t it?

DAMON

I know, I know.

STEVE

Whereabouts in Suffolk are you?

DAMON

Just outside Ipswich.

STEVE

Oh it’s quite a way.

SIMON

But you’re going to give up your four bed to have a five foot room.

DAMON

Five bed, yeah.

STEVE

But you’ll get a studio yeah.

EMMA

Tiny pad.

STEVE

Yeah a little studio in London.

DAMON

Studio flat probably, yeah.

SIMON

But whereabouts in London? Like north, south London?

DAMON

Oh we’re looking everywhere, we’ve looked from West Harrow to Orpington and now there’s, oh Christina’s found a place in Sutton she’s looking at at the moment.

STEVE

Sutton, that’s our old crowd isn’t it, Sutton Market?

SIMON

Yes.

STEVE

Sta-Prest trousers.

DAMON

Sta-Prest trousers, did you used to wear Sta-Prest trousers?

STEVE

Course I did. Maroon.

DAMON

Was that in the ’80s? And did you used to wear a pea green flight jacket as well?

SIMON

Oh I do remember them, couldn’t get it in my size.

STEVE

My brother used a combat jacket. No, that’s something else.

DAMON

A Harrington.

SIMON

I remember the Harringtons, they were great.

STEVE

Is the Sutton Market still there?

 

EMMA

I’m way too young to know any of this, way too young and blind to know anything.

DAMON

My wife won’t let me get a Harrington, I want to get one off eBay at the moment, she won’t let me, in a retro sort of way.

SIMON

Do you remember after Sta-Prest waffles came in, I never really got on with them. Never felt right, never.

STEVE

Well there we go, thank you both, it’s been great, thanks very much guys.

DAMON

Thank you, thanks for having us.

EMMA

Thanks for having us.

STEVE

Thanks to all of you who stay in touch, we do love hearing from you whether it’s social media or the good old email.

SIMON

Yeah, you can find out about how to contact us via our website abnormallyfunnypeople.com.

STEVE

And you’ll find the transcript of the show as well as photos and other bits and bobs.

SIMON

Now, as it stands we’ve not managed to secure sponsorship to continue the podcast.

STEVE

Get out of here, are you sure?

SIMON

Well we’ve got interested people but it might not happen.

STEVE

Well in the meantime we might go a little quiet but we hope to return.

SIMON

Indeed we do. So for now it’s not goodbye, it’s au revoir.

STEVE

It’s au revoir, which is goodbye, Simon.

SIMON

 A bientôt. This is going to be the last minute of our ever podcast and we’re never ever going to come back.

STEVE

We’re going to return.

SIMON

Yeah, oui, oui. So it’s not goodbye.

STEVE

It’s not, we’ll see you soon. Hopefully. And of course thanks to our producer Jo. Bye.

SIMON

Bye.

 

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